With several successful pilot projects under its belt, Casper company Frog Creek Partners is taking its stormwater-filtration product, Gutter Bins, to the national market.
In 2016, Frog Creek’s founder, Brian Deurloo, won the Casper Startup Challenge, earning seed money, mentorship and space in the Wyoming Technology Business Center. From there, he developed his product: a filtration system that is easily installed in existing storm drains to collect trash and sediment from stormwater before it heads to local rivers.
About 100 Gutter Bins have been installed in three states, from Sheridan to Denver, and the results have been eye-opening, Deurloo said.
“We’ve captured 2,500 pounds of pollution from 12 Gutter Bins in downtown Denver,” he said. “We’ve found live ammunition, a $100 bill, syringes, baby diapers, fecal matter, maggots. Knowing that stuff would have gone into the river if we hadn’t captured it, well, it’s hard to contemplate.”
At that rate, if a Gutter Bin was installed in all 22,000 storm drains in Denver, they could collect 4.5 million pounds of pollution in a year, Deurloo said. And that’s just one city. Armed with significant quantifiable data, he is now marketing his product from the coast of California to the Chesapeake Bay.
With initiatives and regulations on stormwater pollution gaining steam across the country, the timing is right for Gutter Bins to expand, he added.
“Through the pilot projects over the years, we’ve taken the product and refined the design, making it easier to make, ship and service,” he said. “I feel the product is highly scalable, and we’re ready for a national launch.”
Frog Creek graduated from the Wyoming Technology Business Center, which is a partner of the Wyoming Business Council, in November 2018 and moved into an 8,000-square-foot shop along the river in Casper. Deurloo has hired an office manager, a salesman in California and a few contractors to his payroll.
Deurloo’s first goal is to manufacture and ship thousands of Gutter Bins per month in the next 12-18 months. He plans to keep operations and as much manufacturing as possible in Wyoming.
On May 13, 12 new Gutter Bins were installed in Cheyenne. Eight of them were donated through a combined effort by the Rotary Clubs in the city, which raised the money to purchase them and will have a hand in servicing them, as well.
“Clean water is a main tenet of the Rotary Club’s mission,” said past president of the Cheyenne Rotary Club, Don Day. “As soon as we heard their pitch, we knew the project was one we should support.”
One of the eight donated drains, installed at Capitol Ave. and 15th St. in downtown Cheyenne, includes a Rotary logo made from yellow steel.
Jeff Geyer, water specialist with the Laramie County Conservation District, said the Gutter Bins in Cheyenne will make a major difference to Crow Creek.
The Conservation District will partner with Rotary members to visit each of the Cheyenne Gutter Bins as needed to remove and replace the patent-pending filter bag; a process that only takes a few minutes and a few basic tools.
Servicing traditional storm drains requires a specialized pump truck and a trained city employee, Geyer said.
“Gutter Bins are much easier and faster to service, they don’t clog as easily and they are infinitely better at removing trash and sediment before it goes into Crow Creek,” he added. “Currently, the creek is listed as an impaired stream for E. coli, selenium and sediment. These Gutter Bins will start to address some of these water-quality issues. I envision the creek as a community asset someday; a place where families can come down and recreate. The installation of these Gutter Bins is a big step toward that future.”